About Bill D.
I wish that I could say that it was love at first sight, but I can’t. What I can say with surety is that it was definitely love at last sight, and not a superficial kind, but a deep, abiding love that took my husband and I through ten and a half years of nonstop prostate cancer treatment. It was a journey that didn’t have a happy ending, but it was our love that took us through until the end. That love has sustained me since I became a widow nearly eleven years ago at the age of forty-two.
When my husband and I first met, I was a single mother in my early twenties. He was in his mid thirties and had spent four years in the Navy. We had known each other for a couple of years. Despite the age difference, we were both smitten after our first date on Halloween in 1985. By Christmas we were engaged then married the following May. We were blessed with two more children and our family felt complete. And then came prostate cancer just after his forty-sixth birthday. I had just turned thirty-two.
Half of our marriage was spent dealing with his progressing illness and its treatment, but we both took our vows seriously. I did not once consider leaving him even through erectile dysfunction and infertility, penile implant surgery, years of chemical castration, three years of monthly chemotherapy, strokes, seizures, complete loss of vision, loss of hearing in one ear and paralysis in the bottom half of his face. Our love never wavered. We were committed to each other and to our children. We were given the strength to navigate many obstacles and traumas because we believed that our love would get us through everything that cancer sent our way, and it did. He reminded me daily that any day we are on this side of the turf, was a good day.
On the last morning before he died, I spent a few minutes alone with him. As I began washing his face and hands, he became very restless. He was no longer able to talk but I took a guess at what was wrong. I said, “If I know you, you are trying to tell me that you love me. If that is the case, you can tell me you love me by blinking your eyes.”
Seconds later he blinked, then a tear ran from the corner of his eye. I told him how much that I loved him and that I was ready to let him go. He was no longer restless and went back to sleep. He died a few hours later. That was our last communication.
My husband taught me valuable lessons about love and how love can carry one through even the darkest of times. He showed me how to love myself and how to love life even when it throws a few curve balls at you. He modeled how to love unconditionally and how to find common ground with others instead of focusing on our differences.
In a world that often feels null and void of love, these lessons were invaluable. It seems many of us have lost our way when it comes to love and kindness. We often seem to be focused on our differences rather then on the things that we share in common. Love is often missing from the equation in our interactions with others in this modern day that we live in. Perhaps if we all got back to focusing on love instead of our opinions, the world would be a better place and our lives would have more meaning.
I believe in love because I have seen firsthand just how powerful that love can be.